Borobudur. The world’s largest Buddhist temple, located in central Java. It took me 17 hours to reach it from Bali and I have to say it was worth the struggle… hadn’t there been the umbrella people.
UMBRELLA PEOPLE [Am'brela Pi:pl] Human beings of Chinese or Japanese origin holding up devices consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a central rod, used as a sight block against other human beings. Collectively gathering around world wonders, they are generally known as "The ones who displease". They feed on pictures, especially photos they have taken of themselves.
Yup! There they were! I could smell them coming! The camera in my right hand, I was ready to get a picture of the mysterious temples that were covered in a magic mist. Overlooking Indonesian rainforests, I was ready to fight my way to the top. I had tried to get there early in the morning, ready to be there before flocks of umbrella people would start to invade.
Fast pacing up the stairs, walking past the Buddhas who looked at me with some sort of peaceful not giving a shit attitude, I made it to the top, ready to overlook the lush green tropical landscape, but then… wait what?
Can you see it? They just pop out of nowhere!! Umbrella Ninja people that ruin my pictures …. and then … they disappear and you ask yourself “Where the heck did they go!”. And then just as you are about to press the button to capture this beautiful landscape in its bare beauty …. UMBRELLA! Gosh darn’it!
I walked around the temples trying out different angles to cut out the single ones who displeased, when I suddenly heard a weird sound of distinctive laughter and high pitched voices in the distance. They were coming! How much time would I have left? Could I make it to the top? Would I be fast enough? I grabbed my camera, went to the back of the temple and made my way up to the top. But it was already too late. Umbrellas, Umbrellas and more umbrellas were taking over my magic temple as I sat down and gave up.
I watched them walking up the stairs while I sat near the temple walls and looked down on this magical landscape. The camera in my hands, I wondered how it had looked like when there hadn’t been any tourists yet and how places were changed once they had been explored.
Borobudur is an ancient temple that symbolizes the reincarnation of Buddha in all of its various stages. The temple consists of nine platforms; each one reflects one stage of reaching Nirvana. On the lowest floor he appears in a human shape. If you walk up further you can see that the Buddha statues are more and more surrounded by bricks. It reflects the spiritual level of ones journey in life. The more spiritual you get, the more you detach yourself from your body and the more you will focus on your mind.
I couldn’t change the fact that umbrellas were swarming up the stairs, neither could I change the fact that I had basically just slept too long this morning and couldn’t have the temple to my own. So I just overlooked the amazing landscape I had sat 17 hours in the car for.
When I sipped on my warm water bottle, a butterfly landed on my knee. It was the one rare butterfly I had gotten a tattoo of back in Bali, just before I had started this trip. And so the voice in the back of my head that cursed the umbrella people started to slowly fade….
And then they came: The Walking Umbrellas. I shivered in mere disgust. They slowly approached and placed themselves just right the fuck in front of me. I was swallowed up in a sea full of round colors, selfies and laughter and I went back down to the car holding on to my touristic camera.